Posts Tagged ‘Braves’

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Dale Murphy

dale murphy back dale murphy front

This card reminds me of that annoying, yet funny, GEICO commercial with Andres Cantor. I know people like chess, gamble on chess, play chess, etc. but to be enthusiastic about chess? That’s usually reserved for hoity toity intellectuals, not professional ballplayers.

Then again, Dale Murphy was a heckova special ballplayer. Murphy won back-to-back MVP awards in 1982 and 1983. From 1980-1987, Murphy averaged 100 runs, 161 hits, 33 HRs, 96 RBIs and a .284/.374/.517 slash line. That’s a pretty darn good peak. Of course, starting in 1988, he would never bat over .245 for the rest of his career, which ended with a whimper in 1993.

If only he would have petered out like an Eddie Murray, we’d be looking at a sure-fire Hall of Famer. Unfortunately, he didn’t. Through 1987 he accumulated 40.7 WAR, he’d finish his career with 44.2 – tied with Carlos Delgado. He isn’t that far behind Nellie Fox or Kirby Puckett and is ahead of Thurman Munson and Phil Rizzuto, but his peak precluded something greater.

That’s the thing about baseball, you never really know. Murphy did make nearly $20 million in his career. Here’s hoping that bought a really nice chess set that can take his mind off of what might have been.

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: CJ Wilson

CJ Wilson backCJ Wilson frontTypically I poke fun at the inaccuracies, poor grammar and just weirdness on the backs of these cards. However, I can’t do that with C.J. Wilson’s – it is that spot on.

Wilson has a phenomenal twitter and blog presence. He has also done a ton of stuff with the creators of Lost – a show that got as esoteric as any show in history. He is also into racing. By the way, I wrote this entire paragraph from memory – that is how (scarily) well I know Wilson.

Well whatever Wilson is doing, I’m cool with it. He was a pretty out-of-this world reliever last year – way beyond LOOGY status. He pitched 73.2 innings and posted a 10.26 K/9 rate. He actually had a better K/9 rate against righties (10.96) than lefties (9.11). Adding those innings, k-rate and ability to work against righties and lefties made him a super valuable reliever in 2009.

But that wasn’t enough.

In 2010, C.J. would transition to starting. How would that go? He’d pitch 199 innings, post a 7.51 k-rate and a 3.35 ERA. Sure he benefited slightly from a .271 BAbip and a lower HR/FB% than he normally does, but we’re still looking at a 3.60 FIP guy.

In short, C.J. is one of (if not the most) interesting starters in all of baseball. Hat tip to Topps for identifying the interesting aspects of Wilson in his 2010 card.

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Dan Schatzeder

Schatzeder backSchatzeder front

Of all the interests in all the world, Mr. Schatzeder’s numero uno would be home video. I get that video cameras were a big deal back then, that’s not what surprises me.

I just think it is bizarre that this dude is super into shooting home videos. To be honest, that mustache makes me wonder what kind of home videos Mr. Schatzeder was making.

While his hobby might be a bit weird, there is nothing weird about his career. He played 15 seasons in the majors, basically becoming a psuedo-LOOGY. However, while he would post a 2.31 K:BB against left-handed batters and 1.40 against righties, he’d actually be more successful, over his career, against righties. For his career, lefties would bat .270/.322/.382 against him and righties would bat .247/.317/.392. He’d finish with 1,317 IPs, a 3.74 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. Not too shabby at all.

What will be most remembered about his career is game six of the 1987 World Series. He entered the game in the fourth inning, allowed one run and pitched two innings to pick up the victory for the Minnesota Twins as they clawed back into the series against the Cardinals. Ultimately, the Twins and Schatzeder would win that Series. Here’s hoping he had a video camera going during their celebration!

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Brian Wilson

Wilson back

I think we can all agree that being any sort of baseball player would be the coolest thing in the world.

Wilson front To wit: in the off-season, Brian Wilson played soft toss with Barry Zito across a freaking canyon in Hollywood – presumably Alyssa Milano was not watching.

Could you imagine being Wilson’s friends?

Friend: So Brian, what did you do today?

Wilson: Zito and I threw a ball across a canyon for a few hours…


I’m sorry but that is just entirely badass.

You know what else is badass? Wilson’s K-rate. It was 10.33 last year and 11.24 this year. For the time being, it appears Wilson has settled into being one of the preeminent power relievers in the game. Not bad for a 24th round draft pick from 2003.

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry (Hot ‘N’ Cold Fantasy Baseball) All-Stars

Players get hot and cold over a seven-day period, it’s as sure as the samples are small.

That is why Katy created the Hot ‘N’ Cold All-stars.

Cause you’re hot…you’re yes…you’re in…you’re up

Mike AvilesAviles has been a fantasy tease (at least for me) over the last several years. So is his last seven days (two HRs, one SB and a .474 AVG) tease or reality? I’m hoping it is closer to reality, as he is getting full playing time because Chris Getz is injured. For whatever reason, the Royals think it is advantageous to split at bats between the two. Aviles is a good player, capable of helping your batting average out right away. He’ll add light pop and light steals, but, when he plays, he is an above average middle infielder. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Keep, Trade or Drop: Tommy Hanson, Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson?

This is some loaded young pitching talent. They were sleepers last year, some (Brett Anderson) are major sleepers this year. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Javy Vazquez to the Yanks…oh no.

Most of my readers can attest to the love I had for Javy Vazquez before the 2009 season. As his numbers indicate, my love was well rewarded. My guy-love had reached such magnitudes, in fact, that I was thinking of keeping him in the ninth round of my most important league – a league where I usually draft batters in at least nine of the first 10 rounds.

Unfortunately, Frank Wren has screwed me again. Somehow, someway, I now hate the Yankees and the Braves even more. I honestly didn’t think this was possible. Seriously though, Melky Cabrera? C’mon!

But enough of my rants, you want to know how this deal affects the fantasy values of those involved. From this perspective, there are two players you should be thinking about: Javy Vazquez and Melky Cabrera.

Javy Vazquez

At first blush, it would seem that Javy Vazquez’s fantasy value will plummet like 2009’s housing marketing. Moving from the NL to AL; moving from Atlanta to New York; moving from a decent pitcher’s park to a homerun haven; etc… I had just begun to do my pitcher rankings for next year and Vazquez was making a legitimate case to be a top 5 pitcher. That will no longer be the case. To illustrate:

Pitcher Yin: 1,664.1 IPs, 1,506 Ks, 4.02 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 110 ERA+, 8.1 K/9, 1.1 HR/9
Pitcher Yang: 852.2 IPs, 747 Ks, 4.52 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 102 ERA+, 8.1 K/9, 1.2 HR/9.

Yin = NL Javy Vazquez, Yang = AL Javy Vazquez. The similarity between those numbers is surprising (or not, given they are the same person). From these numbers, it is clear Vazquez has been better in the National League, but not demonstrably better. However, there are two caveats – his two worst seasons were his first two seasons when he played for the Montreal Expos (where his K/9 rate never exceeded 7.3). The only time that rate was much lower was in 2004 (6.8) – oddly enough, when he pitched for the Yankees and made his only All-star Game. If you take out Vazquez’ first two seasons, his NL-only line looks like: 2,163 IPs, 3.98 ERA, 2,001 Ks, 113 ERA+ 1.22 WHIP, 1.1 HR/9 and 8.3 K/9. Not much better than his total NL numbers, but, still better.

Throughout his career, Vazquez has been incredibly durable – his lowest inning total since 2000 was 198 (while pitching for the Yankees). Since 2004, he has averaged 196 Ks a season, with his lowest total being 150 in 2004, also for the Yankees.

Despite the near across the board drop in his overall numbers, there is nothing to suggest that Vazquez was terribly unlucky in 2004. In fact, his BAbip was .274. Though his overall BAbip is in line with his career norms, Vazquez’s 2004 season was an exercise in the ups and downs common for many major league pitchers. The first half of his season was excellent (explaining his All-Star selection): 3.56 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 1.15 WHIP. As good as his first half was, his second half was equally disastrous: 6.92 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 1.49 WHIP. Looking behind the numbers, however, the reason for the great disparity in his two halves is clear. In the first half, his BAbip was .253. When his BAbip corrected itself in the second half (.303), his success disappeared.

This has been a long rambling numbers-oriented analysis – and it doesn’t appear the numbers have provided much of a conclusion. So, here goes: Vazquez’ preseason fantasy value takes a sizeable dip because of this trade. When you are drafting pitchers, the fewer question marks the better. This trade introduces a number of new question marks that did not exist with Vazquez yesterday (but did exist with him in 2004 when the Yankees shipped him to Arizona after the season). Vazquez can pitch and he will strike batters out, but can he do it as consistently as he did last season as a Brave, without a pitcher in the line-up?

I’m saying no.

This doesn’t mean Vazquez is unownable or useless; it does mean that he probably won’t crack my top 20 pitchers and should be more of mid round selection. If you are a gambling man, roll the dice and snag him a few rounds before his ADP. Off the cuff, I see his ADP being around guys like Josh Johnson, Wandy Rodriguez, Matt Garza and Chad Billingsley. All things being equal, I’d take the upside/league of Johnson and Billingsley over Vazquez, but take Vazquez’ strikeouts over Garza and Wandy’s fragility.

Melky Cabrera

Cabrera goes from a homer-friendly outfield to a murky bigger outfield. He should, initially, get consistent playing time. Despite the trade, Cabrera is not completely locked into a starting job; be mindful of Jason Heyward. Still, it’s not like the Braves have tremendous outfielders as Matt Diaz is more of a platoon-able guy than a starter. The job, more likely than not, is Cabrera’s to lose.

Initially, I ranked Cabrera around outfielders like Chase Headley, Seth Smith, David DeJesus, and Marlon Byrd. In the AL, Cabrera has managed a .331 OBP, .385 SLG and .716 OPS. He has also managed to steal 44/58 bases (75 percent). This success should give him a longer leash in Atlanta. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Cabrera becomes a 12 HR, 20 SB player. There is a lot of value in that. Oddly enough, when you look at players historically who had similar statistics at this point in their career, Cabrera compares favorably to Johnny Damon and Jose Guillen.

Cabrera should be on people’s radars more than normal this year, as a potential top 18 round pick. Though if he doesn’t win a starting position, be prepared to cut bait early.